Hatch writer Jessica Staveley reviews Logan, Hugh Jackman’s final hurrah as Wolverine.
Although he is not on the same wavelength as mainstream superheroes like Batman or Captain America, Wolverine has been an incredibly popular and beloved character of X-Men fans since his emergence in Marvel Comics in the 1970s.
Understandably, when a relatively unknown Australian actor was cast for the hallowed role in X-Men (2000) fans were skeptical.
However Hugh Jackman’s debut as Wolverine erased all doubts. From the very beginning, Jackman was incomparable as Wolverine. He took a character only seen in comic books and nailed the screen adaptation, perfectly establishing Wolverine’s raging personality and menacing physical appearance.
Since his humble debut in 2000, Jackman has played the role for 17 years with features in eight films. It’s clear to say Wolverine is the defining role of Jackman’s career.
Logan takes place in 2029 – more than 50 years after the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Wolverine, also known as Logan, is a shadow of his former self. He’s a limping, grey-haired, crippling alcoholic who carries an adamantium bullet with the intention of using it on himself.
Logan spends his time working as a stretch limousine chauffeur. He uses his pay to medicate the withering Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who is dealing with a degenerative brain disease. Thumping sound effects capture the effects brain disease has on the world’s most dangerous mind. Without drugs to control his seizures, Professor X is capable of killing hundreds of people. He may be the most powerful mutant in the world but, as his health deteriorates, Professor X can’t control his powers.
Logan is tracked down by a mystery woman, who needs his help to transport a young girl named Laura to the North Dakota/Canada border. Laura (Dafne Keen) was one of many children who were created in a lab using X-Men DNA. With razor-sharp claws and killer instincts, Logan soon discovers that Laura was created using his DNA– she is his daughter.
The pint-sized, ferocious Laura truly steals the show in Logan. Director James Mangold describes her as “…an 11-year-old girl equipped with all the volatility, instability, mood swings, shadows and potential violence of our hero.” Keen’s performance is comparable to 12-year-old Millie Bobby Brown’s stand-out role as the telekinetic Eleven on Netflix’s Stranger Things.
The connection between Logan and Laura as father and daughter soon forms the emotional core of the film. An impromptu road trip with Laura, Logan and Professor X, posing as a vacationing family, emphasises the film’s theme of family and accentuates Jackman’s dramatic integrity.
Logan is unlike a typical superhero movie – it’s stripped down, emotional and raw. Logan borrows from both the western and slasher genres. Although the brutal rage, blood and gore of Logan isn’t for the faint-hearted, this is the unrelenting, violent film that fans have been waiting for. Once again, just as last year’s Deadpool showed, R-Rated comic book movies can work incredibly well.
The chronology of the X-Men franchise has splintered over time, as the films have jumped from past to present to future many times. These installments have ranged widely in quality with some films, like Days of Future Past receiving positive reviews while other films were hammered by critics and fans alike. Despite this, throughout the franchise, one thing has stayed true – the sheer quality and integrity of Jackman’s performance.
Logan‘s finale was emotional, conclusive and deeply satisfying. As one of the best films from the X-Men franchise, Logan was a perfect send-off to Hugh Jackman’s impressive 17-year role as Wolverine. – Jessica Staveley
Photos from IMDB